Viewpoint: ’20-years late’ — Why we need to confront agricultural biotechnology innovation regulatory roadblocks

A recent study contracted by CropLife International found that the current time for a new GM trait to go from R&D to commercialization is 16.5 years. Which, realistically, means that farmers and society will not see the true impact of these technologies for nearly 20 years. The reality of this trend is not good for farmers or for food systems who need new solutions to address big problems.

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However, research has shown that there are actions we can take today to help shorten the timeframe. The biggest roadblock in products reaching markets is regulatory approval. Between 2012 and 2022, time spent in the regulatory phase of the GM approval process increased by 140 percent.

Let’s look at the EU as an example of these bottlenecks: European law states that approvals for plant biotech traits should take no longer than two years; however, approval decisions routinely take up to six years. By simply adhering to the law, we could instantly shorten the approval process by four years without any additional cost or resources or affecting food safety.

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